Epigenetic mechanisms in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders: a systematic review of empirical human findings
- Review Article
Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are highly debilitating psychiatric conditions that lack a clear etiology and exhibit polygenic inheritance underlain by pleiotropic genes. The prevailing explanation points to the interplay between predisposing genes and environmental exposure. Accumulated evidence suggests that epigenetic regulation of the genome may mediate dynamic gene–environment interactions at the molecular level by modulating the expression of psychiatric phenotypes through transcription factors. This systematic review summarizes the current knowledge linking schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders to epigenetics, based on PubMed and Web of Science database searches conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Three groups of mechanisms in case–control studies of human tissue (i.e., postmortem brain and bio-fluids) were considered: DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding miRNAs. From the initial pool of 3,204 records, 152 studies met our inclusion criteria (11,815/11,528, 233/219, and 2,091/1,827 cases/controls for each group, respectively). Many of the findings revealed associations with epigenetic modulations of genes regulating neurotransmission, neurodevelopment, and immune function, as well as differential miRNA expression (e.g., upregulated miR-34a, miR-7, and miR-181b). Overall, actual evidence moderately supports an association between epigenetics and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. However, heterogeneous results and cross-tissue extrapolations call for future work. Integrating epigenetics into systems biology may critically enhance research on psychosis and thus our understanding of the disorder. This may have implications for psychiatry in risk stratification, early recognition, diagnostics, precision medicine, and other interventional approaches targeting epigenetic fingerprints. Show more
Journal / seriesMolecular Psychiatry
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
MoreShow all metadata